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Hollinger: My top 10 under the radar NBA free agents for … whenever

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https://theathletic.com/1795392/2020/05/06/hollinger-my-top-10-under-the-radar-nba-free-agents-for-whenever/

5. De’Anthony Melton, Memphis

Miscast as a point guard in an uninspiring rookie season in Phoenix, Melton was freed to unleash his havoc off the ball in Memphis last season and erupted with a well-timed breakout year. A restricted free-agent thanks to the two-year minimum deal he signed with Houston two trades ago, Melton is now looking at a nice payday.

Teams are capped on what they can offer him by the Gilbert Arenas Rule, which prevents a team from losing a young restricted free agent that doesn’t have full Bird Rights. Thus, Melton’s likely end game is signing a full mid-level exception deal (or a bit less) with a suitor and seeing if the Grizzlies match. While suitors with enough cap space can go even beyond that and give him the Tyler Johnson Special (two years at the MLE followed by two years at a greater number), that seems rich for a player with Melton’s resume. However, it might be enough to make Memphis flinch on matching.

Is he worth it? Melton is a shaky shooter and short for a 2, but he’s not a point guard. Still, the data suggests the shooting isn’t catastrophic (31.6 percent this season, and he made 82.1 percent from the stripe). Meanwhile, his plus defense, rebounding and energy provide more than enough oomph to make up for the below-average spacing. He’s a luxury as a high-level bench player who can occasionally start, but on the right team (such as the Grizzlies last season, for instance), he can make a hell of an impact, and his age (he turns 22 this month) offers long-term starter potential.

 

7. Josh Jackson, Memphis

The Dirty Harry of this free agency class: Do you feel lucky? Jackson played just 357 minutes for the Grizzlies this season, but his performance in those minutes was a vast upgrade on his first two seasons in Phoenix. Jackson scored 24.6 points per 100 while posting the first decent True Shooting mark of his career (53.9 percent) and giving a more consistent defensive effort.

Digging deeper on the offensive end, the big change was that he wasn’t nearly as wild. Jackson remains a shaky shooter (31.9 percent from 3 and 65.9 percent from the line this year) but he massively improved his at-rim shooting percentage (a blistering 70 percent, according to Cleaning the Glass) by taking fewer flying, flailing drives. Similarly, he cut his turnover rate significantly.

Again, it was only 357 minutes, but Jackson also played 26 games in the G League and was one of the best players in that league. He’s only 23 years old. There could very well be something here … or it could be a mirage.

Memphis is capped at paying Jackson $8.93 million in the first year of his next contract because the Grizzlies declined his fourth-year option. That gets interesting because it’s about $1M less than the projected mid-level exception, which roughly half the league will have available.

That number may still be too rich for other team’s blood, but Jackson is an interesting – if risky – project for a rebuilding team. Again … do you feel lucky?

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Eeeesh.  Hope we can keep both ... really good young players.  But glad for their sakes that they made themselves a lot more marketable after a year on the Grizzlies.

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Yeah, neither of them is getting that much money because the salary cap is going down. Way freaking down probably. And teams with the uncertain financial status of the future won't want to commit to marginal shooters.

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5 hours ago, Grizzfan7979 said:

Yeah, neither of them is getting that much money because the salary cap is going down. Way freaking down probably. And teams with the uncertain financial status of the future won't want to commit to marginal shooters.

I heard it was gonna go down $15 million per team.

I would like to keep at least one of them, but wouldn't care if both went somewhere else.  Neither are due an overpay until the salary cap and the business side of the NBA stabilizes.  

Of the two, Melton is a better guard defender and a better secondary ball handler.  

Both are probably long-term role players.

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I really want to keep Melton 

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23 hours ago, grizzgolf said:

I really want to keep Melton 

He’s great off the bench and he plays well with Ja, too.

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21 hours ago, ALT GRIND said:

He’s great off the bench and he plays well with Ja, too.

110% @ALT GRIND

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